MODALITY

Modality is the language user’s attitude towards the world. It is related to things such as certainty, possibility, willingness, obligation, necessity and ability.

lexical verb + THE USE OF

Here are examples of verbs that suggest ability (or lack of) + the noun phrase ‘the use of’: So how have we enabled the use of goats as a reliable form of currency? TED In that service, he actually lost the use of his legs, he‘s paralyzed and he uses marijuana for pain management. TED In the English Vocabulary Profile: the use of sth = C2 permission to use something, or the ability to use something We are interested in finding which verbs might suggest …

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would sooner + INFINITIVE

At C2 in the English Vocabulary Profile, ‘would sooner’ means ‘would prefer.’ For example: They would sooner sacrifice numbers to save the people. TED The most common collocate or grammar structure related here is comparative ‘than’.  For example: I would sooner resign than be forced to get the vaccine. Chicago Tribune on MSN.com A search in the NOW corpus for which infinitives are found next to ‘would sooner’ would …

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modal verb + YET

At C2 in the English Vocabulary Profile: could/may/might, etc. yet used to say there is still a possibility that something will happen For example: We may yet one day realize the vision of having the internet in our brains. TED And it seems like it‘s very possible that your nation, despite, actually because of the intense problems you face,  you may yet be the warning light to the world that shines most visibly, most powerfully. TED   NOW corpus search for: _VM yet _VVI 1 MAY YET PROVE 889 2 COULD YET PROVE 662 3 …

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can be + VERB-ing

Although there are a number of similar points in the English Grammar Profile for modal verbs followed by continuous aspect, there is not an entry for ‘CAN + continuous’. We predict that if future continuous affirmative is A2, should + continuous B2, might or may + continuous C1 that ‘can + continuous’ is at least …

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had better

Surprisingly, there is no entry in the English Grammar Profile for the phrase ‘had better’.  In the English Vocabulary Profile, ‘had better’ with the meaning ‘should’ is listed at A2. You had better get out of this room and back downstairs right away. listen A search for collocates in COCA of: had better_RRR 1 START 82 2 PREPARED 59 You had better be prepared to push yourself harder than …

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CAN | WILL (affirmative declarative clause)

A1 point 1 in the category of CLAUSES is defined: affirmative declarative clauses with modal verbs. The English Grammar Profile examples include: ‘can’ and ‘will’.  Future simple modality is also covered here. Here are STUDENT EXAMPLES: A lot of farmers can read and write, but they didn’t complete high school. PELIC Chinese female level 3 writing class.   I will go to New York on Thanksgiving day. Korean female level …

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can’t bear + to-infinitive

In the English Vocabulary Profile at B2, ‘bear’ is defined: accept someone or something unpleasant For example: I can’t bear to see him like this. listen *There are other uses of ‘bear’ that are more advanced.  However, the sense defined above has a distinct grammar pattern: (CAN | COULD) (often negative) + bear + (to-infinitive | Verb-ing | noun phrase) Verb-ing …

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Would you mind?

Here are the most common examples with explanations of ‘would you mind‘: Would you mind if I took your picture? *notice the past form ‘took’ to be polite. Listen to the pronunciation   In the English Grammar Profile, point 83 at B1 in the category of MODALITY is defined as: ‘would’ to make polite requests, often in the fixed expression ‘would you …

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must see

Usually, must is a modal verb. You must see this movie. You must see the difference. (see can mean understand/notice) However, ‘must’ can be a noun. It’s a must. = This is a thing that you must do. There are new combinations: As an adjective: It’s a must-see movie. =  It’s a movie that you …

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May be vs maybe (possibility)

Here we explain the differences between may be and maybe ‘maybe‘ is usually an adverb that means ‘perhaps’ or ‘possibly’. ‘may‘ is usually a modal auxiliary verb with many uses related to ‘possibility’, ‘permission’ etc. He is in Vietnam.  (sure.) He may be in Vietnam. (50% sure.) Maybe, he is in Vietnam. (50% sure.) ‘be’ …

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may | might + as well

If you want to make an unenthusiastic suggestion or say you are not enjoying, interested in, or approving of something, then you can use this grammar structure with ‘may as well‘ or ‘might as well‘. Here are some examples.  The first is a student speaking test example: You might as well just open the door to an unknown person. TLC female Mexico B2 Expert …

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‘AS’ + pronoun + ‘USED’ + to-infinitive

In the English Grammar Profile, C2 point 236 in the category of MODALITY is defined: ‘as’ + pronoun + ‘used to’ to add background to a narrative, often to highlight something unusual *Note this is not the “as + adjective + as” structure. Student example in a speaking test: I don’t think that they pay enough attention towards the national customs as they used to do those days. …

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WOULD + adverb (wide range)

Let’s look at some examples of ‘would’ + a wide range of adverbs: They would eventually become the oppressive hand of the Russian government.  (Listen) What would normally take him maybe a day or something to solder by hand, he can do in a few minutes using this machine.  (Listen)   Point 234 in the category of MODALITY is defined: wide range of adverbs with ‘would’, including ‘undoubtedly’, ‘possibly’, ‘normally’, ‘personally’, ‘eventually’, ‘obviously’, ‘significantly’, …

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